Some of Norway's top executives in the aquaculture technology field are warning of the potential impact of the country's controversial new salmon tax on their businesses.
When the Norwegian government announced plans for a new 40 percent ground rent tax on the salmon industry in September, a number of large development projects were put on hold. The total value of these projects is estimated at NOK 35 billion (€330 million/$360 million), according to The Norwegian Seafood Federation.
Trude Olafsen, head of global solutions at aquaculture equipment supplier Akva Group, said she fears for Norway's leading position in the field.
The world looks to Norway when it comes to aquaculture technology, she told IntraFish, noting that inquiries from other parts of the world to come and learn were common.
"Are we about to screw it up?" she asked.
With salmon producers now looking to increase investment abroad, Olafsen is concerned for the future of aquaculture tech in Norway.
Fishglobe, the manufacturer of a cutting edge closed-containment floating fish farm, announced at the Aqkva conference in Bergen last week that they are now looking abroad.
With 11 offices scattered across the globe already, Akva is already primed to do the same.
"We can run development projects from Canada if the customers do not want to do it in Norway," said the executive. "We will follow our customers."
While technology providers may not have to pay ground rent tax, the uncertainty about the future of the industry is already impacting their businesses, warned Olafsen.
"My impression is that the tax proposal was written by social economists with a distanced attitude to how the entire value chain works in practice," she said.